Idol Gives Back loses 6 million Idol viewers and is down 35 percent from last year

A large chunk of American Idol 7’s viewers weren’t interested in the show’s fundraiser telethon and parade of taped celebrity appearances that aired last night.

Just 17.5 million viewers watched, “down significantly from April 25 last year, when ‘Idol Gives Back’ earned … 26.9 million viewers overall, a 35% drop,” Variety reports, noting that “the show took a big hit from its inaugural a year ago, falling 34% in the 18-49 demo.”

Interestingly, more people tuned in last year for the telethon than watched this week’s performance. Tuesday’s episode was watched by 23.9 million viewers, compared to 26.9 million who watched Idol Gives Back last year.

Of course, despite all this, American Idol 7 is still the top show. The only other show to come close to its numbers last night was CBS’ Criminal Minds, which was watched by 13.1 million people at 9 p.m.

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